The Big Ride, Part 2

Once you get outside with the bike, there is a decision to be made: Right or left. I usually go right, which is the opposite direction from my destination, but has its advantages.

Unlike other people, who seem to accept riding in traffic as a necessary danger, or a welcome thrill, I avoid it at all costs -- sometimes even doing the Bad Thing and riding on the sidewalk. The choice comes down to a quick equation involving how many other objects you are likely to encounter. Under the bridge there is a bike lane, but there are also cars backing out into the lane without looking (on the right of it), cars whizzing by (on the left of it), and double-parked cars and even schoolbuses (on top of it). I'd prefer not to get a rear-view mirror stuck in my ribs, so up on the curb we go. Unless a corporate softball game has just ended and there's a small mob coming back from East River Park to party at Boss Tweed's, you're unlikely to encounter more than one or two people.

There are times I've continued straight on Delancey and pedaled up and over the bridge that spans the FDR Drive. I don't like it, though. The bridge has a steep incline and then a few hairpin turns on the descent. The first day I started riding again after 25 years, embarking on this bridge was goofy indeed. I was still piddle-paddling with my feet along the pavement every so often, trying not to fall over. Once I hit that first angle on the bridge, it was hard to keep upright and keep my dignity.

So instead of hitting the bridge, I cut right onto Lewis. There is a bike lane here, but far less activity -- it's a side street. And after a few beats, I make the momentous (for me) left turn onto Grand, and then cut behind onto Henry.

This part of the neighborhood is unfamiliar to me. It's behind the supermarket, so I never need to go there. It's nice and quiet. I can hop the sidewalk without encountering anyone. And within the space of a few pedals, I'm at Corlears Hook Park, with its long, virtually empty mall and slow ascent to a run-down ampitheater. Heaven.


La Belette Rouge said...

As a non-bike rider I am always struck by the courage and vulnerability of bike riders in traffic. I am sort of amazed by the braveness to interact with street traffic. I feel sure that if I had ever learned to ride a bike that I would have been a bike trail kind of gal and never would have taken to the streets. I admire your boldness.
p.s. Any Clarisonic news?;-)

Erica said...

Well, first things first. I used the Clarisonic for the first time last night!!! My guy at Sephora hooked me up in a big way with a promotion. And my shame over such a splurge was quickly replaced by the sheer joy of seeing clean pores. I got the Plus, too, and so my elbows and feet are feeling incredibly smooth now as well. All it needs is one more attachment and it would satisfy a woman in every way imaginable.

Re the biking: where I live is such a remote part of Manhattan (have you seen Crossing Delancey?), thankfully traffic is not too bad of an issue. I think people who bike in midtown are simply maniacs. And there are maniacs in the bike-only lanes as well, as we shall discover in Part 3, TBD!